[ARIN-consult] Reminder: Consultation on Increasing the size of the ARIN Board of Trustees

Mike Burns mike at iptrading.com
Tue Jun 6 16:01:02 EDT 2017



Can we talk about the problem this change is designed to address?


Have there been decisions taken in the past by the ARIN board which could be said to be a result of lack of diversity on the board?

For example, has the board corrected a mistake because a prior decision failed to include the input of a small business owner, or a resident of the Caribbean, or a lawyer?


Do issues like gender or race even impact the decision-making ability of a board whose job revolves around number policy?


Or are we to assume that lack of diversity is itself the problem? 

That even if the non-diverse board and a hypothetical diverse board reached the same conclusions, there is still a problem with the former?


Is this an optics problem?  That is, are we addressing not a problem related to number policy, but a self-esteem problem of some community members?

Or are we saying the ARIN board doesn’t understand Caribbean legal issues or network peculiarities, resulting in bad decisions?

The second case is much more interesting to me.


The problems which will inevitably arise out of this effort should be considered, and I haven’t really heard them all addressed.


First, who decides what groups should be included in the sought-after diversity? We have suggestions for gender and regional membership already.

What about LBTQ, black, Hispanic, physically-challenged or poor community members?

Can those groups be left out of consideration? What is the process of review and revision of these selections? A free-for-all on the ARIN-consult list? I am not looking forward to the debate over the last reserved seat- does it go to the poor or the Caribbean?  What if a gay, poor Caribbean runs for that seat, does he/she check three boxes or only one? Are these appropriate discussions for numbers-stewards?  It’s a quagmire.


Second, once the groups are defined, then what is the mechanism to ensure actual membership in the group? How are we sure who is a woman, who is poor, who is physically handicapped, or who is gay?  Do we have surplus Election committee members itching to verify this information?


Third, this would further the implicit assumption that even members of a small group whose aegis extends only to regional number policy vote tribally, and the only solution is to ensure participation of every tribe on the board. I think we should instead be focusing on the open-ness of the stakeholder model, with open and meritocratic elections being a foundational principle.


Fourth, restricting qualified members from running from some board seats due to immutable characteristics like skin color or gender or ethnicity could potentially reduce the overall quality of the board.


Fifth, intra-ARIN tribalism will naturally drive discourse in ways that tend to exacerbate differences so as to justify current diversity preferences, in my opinion, and that includes introducing non-numbers-related issues where we should only care about the numbers.


Sixth, a larger board makes meetings and communications among board members more difficult.


Seventh, quota-seat members could feel (and be perceived as) inferior or junior members.


I don’t support any change to the number of seats on the board, and I don’t think the language that existed which allowed for the appointment of an additional member was designed for increasing bland and generic diversity. I think it was put there to address any particular unusual eventuality which required missing expertise. Maybe expertise in large public accounting, or expertise in law enforcement, or in private investigation or legislative compliance. The use of the seat to address a lack of representation of any particular GROUP removes the intended ability of use for a particular EXPERTISE should that be needed.


As it stands today, the community is free to nominate and vote for any member who is qualified. Before that right is removed from the community, can we please understand the severity of the problem?


Can somebody provide an example of a Board decision which would have benefitted from more diversity?



Mike Burns



From: ARIN-consult [mailto:arin-consult-bounces at arin.net] On Behalf Of David Farmer
Sent: Tuesday, June 06, 2017 3:54 PM
To: John Comfort <john at comfortconsulting.com>
Cc: <arin-consult at arin.net> <arin-consult at arin.net>
Subject: Re: [ARIN-consult] Reminder: Consultation on Increasing the size of the ARIN Board of Trustees


I debated using the word "underrepresented", I couldn't find a better word, the english language is lacking, or at least my vocabulary is.


On Tue, Jun 6, 2017 at 2:17 PM, John Comfort <john at comfortconsulting.com <mailto:john at comfortconsulting.com> > wrote:

To state that women are underrepresented because the board currently has no women is a misnomer and only perpetuates the political propaganda without any substantive data to confirm the situation even exists.  If a particular woman has the appropriate credentials and experience necessary to become a member of the board, then there is no reason why she wouldn't be elected except that a male or another female candidate has better credentials and/or more relevant experience.

The election requirements should be based on merit only.  Do not give prejudicial treatment to any person whether male or female to further external, irrelevant agendas.


On Tue, Jun 6, 2017 at 11:58 AM, David Farmer <farmer at umn.edu <mailto:farmer at umn.edu> > wrote:

I agree with Jason and Rob, simply expanding the number of board seats without some mechanism to ensure that the new seats actually expand diversity is not helpful, and I can not support such a change.  I will note it is theoretically possible that, the membership will fill the new Board seats with a more diverse set of board members, but it is equally, if not more, likely that they will not, and the board will look much as it does today but slightly larger.  A slightly larger board that has more diversity is a fair trade-off and I support such a change if it includes a mechanism to ensure that the new seats actually expand diversity.


I don't think a regional representation system would be helpful over all, it wouldn't necessarily help increasing the number of women on the board, and it would formalize a constituency for some board members that isn't the whole membership, and I'm not sure that would be a healthy change either.


As an alternative, I would propose that the board earmark the additional seat in each class for candidates with particular divers properties that are underrepresented on the board.  Currently, I see the most pressing lack of diversity being women in general and anyone from the Caribbean.  So I would propose that the extra seat for the 1st and 3rd class of broad members be earmarked for women, and the extra seat in the 2nd class be earmarked for someone from the Caribbean.  Overtime if the make up of the board changes the earmarks could be changed to select candidates with other divers properties or if in the future it is felt that sufficient diversity can be maintained without earmarks, the earmarks could be eliminated. 


Under this proposal, there would be two(2) general seats with the current qualifications, and one special diversity seat per class with the current qualifications plus additional diversity qualifications specified by the board, maybe with input from the community and/or the nomcom.





David Farmer               Email:farmer at umn.edu <mailto:Email%3Afarmer at umn.edu> 
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David Farmer               Email:farmer at umn.edu <mailto:Email%3Afarmer at umn.edu> 
Networking & Telecommunication Services
Office of Information Technology
University of Minnesota   
2218 University Ave SE        Phone: 612-626-0815
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